Today, our study of the delicacies of North-Central Nigeria brings us to Plateau State. This state derives its name from the picturesque Jos Plateau, a mountainous area in the north of the state with captivating rock formations. Plateau State was known for tin mining during the colonial era. Its climate also makes it possible to grow a wide variety of foods.
One meal that is quite popular in Plateau State is gwote. This meal is a kind of porridge enjoyed by the old and the young. It is believed to be very healthy and so, it is a recommended food for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers in Plateau State. There are two different types of gwote namely: gwote doya and gwote acha.
Our discussion today centres on Gwote Acha. Acha is a cereal crop grown in Jos and some other parts of Northern Nigeria. It is alleged to be one of Africa’s oldest cereal. It belongs to the millet family and is said to be the smallest seed of all the millet species. Acha is considered a rich source of minerals, vitamins, fiber, carbohydrate, amino acids. It is easy to digest and it helps in appetite stimulation. Acha was called the hungry man’s rice by the Europeans who believed that it is mostly consumed by the hungry. This, however, is an assumption based misrepresentation for the Europeans, at that time, had little information on the crop or the people who consume it. In truth, those who cultivate and eat this food do so, not because they are starving but because they like and enjoy the food.
Other ingredients used in preparing gwote acha are yakuwa (sorrel leaves), onions, beef, brisket bone, palm oil, salt, seasoning and garden egg. Gwote acha is reputed to be very filling and medicinal too. Also, this meal is allegedly capable of neutralizing the intoxicating effect of local alcoholic beverages like burukutu. Gwote is traditionally served in a calabash bowl, and taken with a calabash spoon (a type of gourd).
Featured image source: Onyx Food Hill – Youtube